The University of Southampton

Wendy Hall gives this year's Southampton City Lecture

Published: 26 November 2009

Professor Dame Wendy Hall will be giving the 6th Southampton City Lecture on Monday 30 November, on the subject ‘The Emerging Science of the Web and why it is Important'.

Now rapidly emerging as an important and vibrant area of research and academic endeavour, critical for our understanding of the Web and society, Web Science was launched as a new academic discipline in 2006 under the aegis of the Web Science Research Initiative to bring together researchers and educators from many disciplines, including computer science, engineering, the social sciences, health and the humanities to study the World Wide Web.

Professor Hall was one of the Founding Directors of the Web Science Research Initiative, along with ECS Professors Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, and Daniel J Weitzner. Many successes have been achieved over the last three years including the award of the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Web Science to the University of Southampton and the establishment of a new global series of Web Science Conferences. The progress and achievements made in raising awareness of the importance of Web Science and in building the foundations and framework for the new discipline will now be taken forward by the newly-established Web Science Trust. In her lecture Professor Hall will explore how Web Science has become established, the insights that are beginning to emerge from it, and the major challenges ahead. 'The Web is a critical global infrastructure,' she says, 'with hundreds of billions of pages that touch almost all aspects of modern life.

'Little appreciated, however, is the fact that the Web is more than the sum of its pages and it is more than its technical protocols. Vast emergent properties have arisen that are transforming society, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. As we seek to understand its origins, appreciate its current state and anticipate possible futures there is a need to address the critical questions that will determine how the Web evolves.' Professor Dame Wendy Hall, FRS, is Professor of Computer Science in the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and President of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest organization for computing professionals. One of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, she has been at the forefront of the subject ever since. The influence of her work has been significant in many areas, including digital libraries, the development of Web technologies (particularly the Semantic Web) and, recently, she has pioneered the establishment and development of Web Science. She has been influential in the development and formation of scientific policy, through many significant roles, and continues to be a strong and vocal advocate for women’s opportunities in science, engineering and technology.

Tickets for this lecture, which takes place at 6.15 pm on Monday 30 November in the Turner Sims Concert Hall, are available from the Turner Sims Box Office; tel.023 8059 5151. Refreshments are available in the foyer from 5.30 pm.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel. +44(0)23 8059 5453.

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